Local Hotel Group Joins with SA Giant

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK In an effort to boost Namibia’s international share in the hotel industry, the United Africa Hospitality Group has entered into a joint partnership with Protea Hospitality Corporation to form a new entity called Protea Hotels Namibia. Through the partnership venture, the United Africa Group owns 51 percent of the shares through Protea Hotels Namibia, adding United Africa’s properties in Namibia to be managed under the Protea Hotels’ 131 strong collection of hotels. Not only is this venture seen as a way to put the country’s hotel industry on the world market, but United Africa’s four hotels will as from now be managed under the administration of the South African lucrative business enterprise Protea Hospitality Corporation. The agreement will see Protea Hotels Namibia managing a number of hospitality units in Namibia, Angola and Ethiopia, including the four hotels that are currently part of United Africa Namibia’s portfolio, namely, Hotel Furstenhof in Windhoek, Pelican Bay Hotel in Walvis Bay, Sea View Hotel Zum Sperrgebiet in LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz and Pandu Ondangwa Lodge. Furthermore, the Eliakim Namundjebo Plaza complex in Windhoek will also be added to the portfolio. Addressing experts in the hospitality and business sectors at a press conference on Monday, Executive Director of United Africa Group Haddis Tilahun said that this strategic partnership is seen as having a mutually beneficial angle for both business partners. He added that in turn this has a bonus advantage for the country’s local hospitality industry at the end of the day. “This partnership has a tripling effect that can give us that growth and additional wealth that can further increase our revenue base,” said Tilahun, adding that through the deal the South African business partner will provide the market share, skills transfer, bring in the much needed international travellers into the country, boosting additional turnover as well as the confidence of investors’ travel plans to the country as a whole. “It’s really a win-win partnership for and acts like a springboard for the country,” added Tilahun. In an effort to ensure a strong presence in Namibia, Protea Hotels has also identified additional properties that fit the profile of the newly formed company Protea Hotels Namibia with negotiations still underway. Rejecting claims that this can be seen as a big brother takeover of local hotels, Executive Chairman of the Protea Hospitality Corporation Otto Stehlik refuted this by saying that this should not be seen a hostile takeover as both partners will benefit mutually. “Protea is a management company and we manage hotels on behalf of other owners. Over the past 22 years we use the profits to acquire more hotels. It’s all about the economics of scale and power of scale that we offer to Namibia,” explained Stehlik. Namibia was chosen as the ideal country that fits into the Strategic Marketing Plan of Protea due to a number of reasons, namely, its ideal geographic location, it has high standard quality hotels that meet the expectations of the worldwide hospitality industry and through this venture will receive added value to its hotel properties. Local employees at the four main hotels will also receive training in Cape Town South Africa under the guidance of Group General Manager of United Africa Group Hospitality Graham Howard. Speaking at the same occasion, Chairperson of United Africa Group Martha Tilahun said that the latest deal would further expand the hotel industry of the country by showcasing its excellent standards worldwide. It is in this way that the country will benefit wholly from the largest market share through building a sound and reputable hospitality industry in Namibia. As a privately owned company based on partnerships, Protea Hotels is known to have 131 reputable hotels in 14 countries around the world.